March 6, 2015

How to Choose the Best Anti Glare Screen Protector

Eric Griffin

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When it comes to the transmission of visible light, both glass and sapphire are exceptionally transparent, but the reflectiveness remains one of the biggest problems. Manufacturers use various techniques to scatter reflected light in order to reduce glare, with varying results. The most commonly used technique for displays is called Anti-Reflective coating, or AR coating. It’s based on a thin-film interference principle which is also why soap bubbles produce colorful striations under the sunlight.

AR coatings have been around for a while, mostly used for luxury watches and prescription glasses. With more advanced, multi-layer compositions, it most recently made it into handheld devices — Apple Air 2 came pre-equipped with its own AR coating with no visible decrease in contrast and color intensity. It’s by far not a perfect solution, especially when it comes to smartphones. AR coatings come off easily, resulting in a large number of tiny “opaque” scratches and spots which interfere with a user experience. Phone screens are also more prone to scratches and wear than watches or tablets.

Screen protectors can help deal with glare issues. There are currently two options: matte finish and AR coating. Both solutions come with some drawbacks which you need to be aware of during your purchasing process. This quick overview will help you choose the best anti glare screen protector for your specific situation.

Anti-Reflective Coating for Tempered Glass Screen Protectors

AR coatings are used for tempered glass screen protectors (though not all tempered glass screen protectors come with AR coating). It is hardly noticeable, and colors and contrast look almost the same. As mentioned above, over time, the coating will rub off, or scratch off, and will significantly reduce the anti-reflectiveness. Devices with an AR coating need to be treated with extra care. In case of AR coated tempered glass screen protector, be prepared to get a replacement soon.

Matte Finish for Film Screen Protectors

The other option is to create a textured surface on the screen (often called a matte finish), which reduces glare and scatters reflections. You may recall that early Apple displays were matte, but to the disappointment of many, no longer are. A matte finish hides fingerprints and smudges better, and since it’s not a coating, it cannot be scratched or rubbed off. This finish, however, has its own drawbacks. Because the texture makes the light waves hit the surface from different angles, you might notice tiny color speckles.  Some people love the matte finish, while others don’t — it’s a matter of personal preference.

Below is the Clear-Coat’s Matte (bottom) and the Original (top) urethane film applied to the iPad Air 2, AR coated screen, to illustrate the differences between these finishes. The cutout circle in the middle shows the screen itself.

Clear-Coat Matte is available through our retail locations with a quick installation on a spot. You can find the nearest location here: http://clear-coat.com/where-to-buy.

You might also enjoy:

FUSION Impact Screen Protector: How It’s Made

True Hardness of A Tempered Glass Screen Protector

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